Monthly Archives: August 2009

Pakistan’s lone gay writer rests pen, says sorry

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Islamabad – Gay community in India may be celebrating the Delhi High Court’s landmark ruling that decriminalized homosexuality, the lone Pakistani who blogs about gay travails has decided to stop writing.

“Not in Pakistan. I cannot. Sorry,” Jalaluddin, who blogs at Tuzk-e-Jalali, wrote in his latest and perhaps last post on June 28. “I guess all of you guys will have to get used to the fact that I will, from now on, be blogging very irregularly, as in once a quarter or something.” Jalal describes himself as a “20-something sarcastic, psychotic, socialist, homosexual blogger from Karachi” who was educated as an engineer, but works as a banker and dreams of being a traveler and writer.

“For all the actions where I have come out of the closet to my family and friends does not mean that I am ready to do it officially. So, for now, I am going to have the following goals in life, I want to learn how to speak French and Farsi (Persian) and I want to learn horse riding, sword fighting, archery and shooting,” he wrote. “One of the reasons for not blogging for the past three months would be the fear elicited by the fact that my blog has been quoted. The closet door is being banged at very hard. I would have to request you people to at least not try to knock on the closet door,” he wrote.

You can have a look at his works here:

aool.blogspot.com

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Filed under International - Persecution of Homosexuals, Islam and Homosexuality, Media-Indian Subcontinent

Evergreen Demo version released

Evergreen, a documentary & educational program currently in progress:

Evergreen is a documentary currently in production in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The demo was shot with a reduced crew and edited with personal equipment. This segment hopes to highlight the characters and style of the upcoming documentary.

Visit the following links to see the demo movie file:

In English Subtitles:

In French Subtitles:


Visit link to download demo move file: http://www.mediafire.com/?ndwbnh2ittl

To see how you can take part in this project please download the following PDF:
http://www.mediafire.com/download.php…

For more info please visit: http://thebideshis.wordpress.com/


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Filed under Bangladesh LGBT events, Bangladesh Trans Issues, Islam and Homosexuality, Media-Indian Subcontinent, Media-International

EVERGREEN: A documentary project on Bangladeshi Transexuals

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Filed under Bangladesh Trans Issues, Islam and Homosexuality, Media-Indian Subcontinent, Media-International

The right to be gay and Muslim


Crossposted from LGBT Asylum News

http://madikazemi.blogspot.com/2009/08/right-to-be-gay-and-muslim.html

Source: Radio Netherlands Worldwide

Gay in Egypt
Homosexuality is not specifically prohibited in Egypt, but gays are regularly arrested and charged with “debauchery”. One of the most infamous cases occurred in 2001 when 52 men were arrested during a police raid on a floating night club, the Queen Boat.
We speak to one of the men, Mazen who was jailed for a year and sought asylum in France.

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Gay life in Istanbul
Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey but gays and lesbians are regularly harassed by the police and the general public. Homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender people have been fighting for over a decade to create space for themselves.
We talk to Emre-Can, a young man living in Istanbul, about gay life in Turkey.

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The gay Imam
Most Muslim clerics condemn homosexuality outright, citing several verses from the holy Koran. But there are Imams who are actually gay themselves. Eric Beauchemin speaks to Imam Muhsin Hendricks from South Africa who explains how he reconciles his faith with his homosexuality.

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Daily Star newsline brews up Transphobia

Committed to PEOPLE’S RIGHT TO KNOW
Wednesday, August 26, 2009 05:04 PM GMT+06:00
Published On: 2009-06-25
Metropolitan
Hijra panic grips city dwellers
Alpha Arzu
City dwellers remain in a state of panic nowadays due to frequent attacks of hermaphrodite (hijras) populace who suddenly come to the houses or make attacks on individuals at different signal points for money or other goods.

Hijras attacked Shamima Akhter, mother of a two-month-old son, at her Gulshan residence where she lives with her husband.

She said, “I went to the veranda after hearing shouting of my guard around 11:00am yesterday and found some five to six hijras beat up my guard as he refused to allow them to the house.”

“I got panicked and called my husband, who was also harassed by the group of hijras. They demanded Tk 5,000 for our kid’s welfare, otherwise they would kidnap my son,” said Shamima.

The doting mother also said, “We finally paid them Tk 2000 after much hard bargaining. We have already decided to change our house from this area as they [hijras] frequently come.”

Runu Ahmed, mother of a newborn, of Sector-13 at Uttara Model Town said, “I’ve been observing some hijras moving around our house in the last few days. On Friday, when my husband and father-in-law went to the mosque for Juma prayers, they entered the house skipping the wall.”

“It was horrible as my mother-in-law was sick, and I just cured after my delivery 10 days before. So, we got panicked and called the police, who rescued us by paying Tk 500 on that day,” said Runu, wife of Jewel Ahmed, a high official of a private phone company.

The couple explained how they had fallen victim to the eunuchs second time just after three days. This time they [hijras] were saying with more offensively: “Police never do anything against us, and as you called police on Friday, you would have to pay more Tk 1000 and the grand total is Tk 6000 today.”

After an hour’s bargaining, the family got relief of the harassment after the intervention of the Rapid Action Battalion, who came to the place after getting a phone call from their neighbour, said Runu.

Officer-in-Charge (OC) ABM Zakir Hossain of Uttara Model Police Station told The Daily Star, “Earlier, we received at least 15 calls each day. The number is on the decrease now.”

“We have met the hijras several times and offered 300 hijras jobs at a time at a garment factory, but they refused to work, he said.

About 150 hijras live in different slums at Uttara, the OC said, adding, “Hijras ensured us at a meeting that they would not charge the exorbitant amount. The amount was fixed between Tk 200 and Tk 500, which was Tk 2000 and Tk 5000 earlier.”

“People now get panicked instead of showing kindness to them for their attacking and offensive behaviour,” said Zakir.

Hijras also attacked the commuters at different signal points where cars and other vehicle stopped for few minutes, said a victim, who recently lost a mobile phone and a wallet from his own car at Mohakhali.

“Suddenly, they come to the car and try to enter the vehicle by force or start to scold in very offensive language and gesture,” said the victim.

The hijras also attack the different construction firms who are constructing the new building. They come to the project site and demanded money, otherwise they take construction materials, including rod, wood and others, which also cost Tk 1000 to Tk 2000, said Mahmudul Hasan Prince, site manager of Nandan Kanon Developers.

Kachi, a hijra community leader of Uttara, told this correspondent, “We are human by born, not by sexual identity; but people always neglect us to live in a society or a family. So, we have to find new ways to survive.

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Filed under Bangladesh persecution of Homosexuals, Bangladesh Trans Issues, Media-Indian Subcontinent

Hijras take to Dhaka catwalk in unique awareness campaign

Wed, Aug 19th, 2009 1:00 am BdST

By Fahmida Wadud Chaity

Dhaka, Aug 18 (bdnews24.com)—The audience at a show titled “Agony and Ecstasy,” at the National Museum on Tuesday, were treated to a unique event as Hijras took to the catwalk in a fashion show as part of the programme’s aim to to sensitise the larger community on transgender issues.

The programme, also aiming to create awareness about the risks of HIV/AIDS and drug-use, was organised by the Bandhu Social Welfare Society, which works for the wellbeing of the socially excluded “males and their partners” through the provision of sexual health services, support of their human rights and alternate livelihoods.

Shale Ahmed, executive director of BSWS told bdnews24.com, “They are regularly stigmatised in many ways, which harm their self esteem. They tend to think they are useless. They feel isolated and excluded.”

“This particular programme is a part of our protest against the stigma. It is an effort to make the community feel empowered.”

The fashion show aimed to showcase the Hijra/transgender sense of fashion and style. Their vivid make overs, performance and attitude on the catwalk expressed self-belief and appeal.

“We wanted to give them a sense of empowerment, so that they can feel they too can contribute in the society.”

People from all walks of society attended the “dazzling event”. Tisa, a trendy young member of the audience, said, “I really liked it. It is amazing to think that a Hijra fashion show can take place in Bangladesh.”

The chance to perform in a glitzy fashion show, at the National Museum auditorium, in front of a diverse audience will certainly boost the Hijras’ confidence and at the same time sensitise people about their issues, Shale said.

Asked if BSWS had any intention to promote ‘Hijra culture’ in the larger community, he said, “We are in exactly in the process of doing that. Bringing many of them together from different parts of Bangladesh was very difficult. They were scattered before coming under our umbrella.”

“But those who were interested to work for their own community, we gave them the chance by setting up their own centres.”

The centres, named Shustho Jibon (Healthy Life), are managed by the Hijras themselves. BSWS’s role is to provide logistical support.

The Hijras, who find few opportunities to make a living outside the sex trade, gain self-esteem, vocational and life skills training such as sewing and dancing, as well as information on the risks of drug-use, HIV/AIDS and other STDs through the centres.

Speaking of society’s prevailing attitude to this marginalised and stigmatised community, Shala said, “The way they are, they are. It is not a matter of right or wrong. It is our problem that we cannot accept them.”

BSWS envisions a society where every person, irrespective of their gender and sexuality preferences, is accepted as equal.

Twenty-eight year-old Payel, who took to the catwalk that evening, said, “I am so happy to be here and taking part in the fashion show.”

Payel, who joined Shustho Jibon 11 years ago, said, “We are working for our own well-being and human rights.” She said they also try to check HIV/ AIDS and other STDs within their community.

“I have gained confidence joining Shustho Jibon, and of course after taking part in this show tonight!”

None of Payel’s family came to cheer her on the catwalk but, on a personal note, she told bdnews24.com that her family did keep in touch with her.

Payel is lucky. Many Hijras are disowned by their own families. “Initially it was tough to convince my family about my activities and our community. But now they are fine with it,” she said.

“I am what I am from the day I came out from my mother’s womb. There was nothing to do about it, but to accept it,” said Payel.

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Filed under Bandhu BSWS, Bangladesh LGBT events, Bangladesh Trans Issues, Media-Indian Subcontinent

Inauguration of Gender & Sexuality Resource Centre GSRC

By Tanvir Alim


On August 17, 2009, the soft inauguration of Gender & Sexuality Resource Centre GSRC, Bangladesh took place at Lalmatia, Dhaka

IMG_2663The proposal of a coalition of the Bangladeshi LGBT people was a logical consequence and a follow up of the first ever LGBT -workshop Boys of Bangladesh (BOB) organized in February, 2009. Since then in just a few months time it came a long way in forming the coalition which aims to strengthen the bond among the diverse LGBT people/groups/organizations and work on the common goals. The members of the coalition feels that it is indeed very important to generate a united effort to make their voices heard and fight for rights. The coalition right now is going towards the process of registration and plans to start its activities formally from January 2010.


IMG_2609More than forty five people participated in the event which includes Royal Norwegian Embassy, CARE, Manusher Jonno Foundation, Naripokkho, Centre for Gender, Sexuality & HIV/AIDS-JPGSPH BRAC University, Bandhu Social Welfare Society, Sustho Jibon, Sacheton Shilpi Shangho, Rong Berong, Shawprovo, Sakhiyani and Boys of Bangladesh. Besides there were activists, researchers, lawyers, psychiatrists and supporters who believes in sexual diversity

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Tanvir Alim is a  Gay Rights Activist and is actively associated with BoB as a moderator.He is presently involved in gay community building process in Bangladesh and editing a quarterly publication of BoB


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Filed under Bangladesh LGBT events, Boys of Bangladesh, Media-Indian Subcontinent, Tanvir Alim

Coverage of HRW report on anti-gay Iraqi program

 

 

 

 

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They want us exterminated: A report on persecuted Iraqi gays by HRW

Murder, Torture, Sexual Orientation and Gender in Iraq

August 17, 2009

This 67-page report documents a wide-reaching campaign of extrajudicial executions, kidnappings, and torture of gay men that began in early 2009. The killings began in the vast Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, a stronghold of Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia, and spread to many cities across Iraq. Mahdi Army spokesmen have promoted fears about the “third sex” and the “feminization” of Iraq men, and suggested that militia action was the remedy. Some people told Human Rights Watch that Iraqi security forces have colluded and joined in the killing.

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Filed under International - Persecution of Homosexuals, Islam and Homosexuality, Official reports and policy declarations

A text book case how sexuality is enforced upon in Bangladeshi society

0808_194211By Ashok DEB

I was undergoing my usual routine of checking the emails when I stumbled upon this message. The desperate sender frantically sent this message to a number of LGBTI defenders of the sub-continent on the early hours of 17th JULY 2009.

The email read this:

Dear Friends, hope & trust you all are fine or hope you all are pretending to be fine. I am John (co-moderator) . I am from Bangladesh. I am Gay & I am proud to be Gay. But I am not happy. Because, my family knows about my homosexuality. They were somewhat moderate first time. But recently they have changed their masks and became somewhat homophobic. I could not write long time to the group because my family attacked me physically. I was injured.I went to the Police Station. But they did not allow me to file a case or General Diary. Police sayed, ”You are a feminine type boy. Tell me are you Kothi or drug-addict or prost? We are not allowing you to file a GD. Its a silly family matter. So we do not deal with this types of silly matters.” Then they called my dad & told him to take me back to home (hell). My dad, mom, sister & even my younger brother bit me to death. I was seriously injured. One of my friend came to help me. Otherwise, I could be killed. Now I am rather better. And now they are saying to leave home. They have given me nottice to leave home within 7 days. My partner does not live in Bangladesh. So he is helpless. Now could you please tell me, Gay means Happy or Unhappy? Can you tell me when the domestic violences will be abolished? Can anyone tell? When will my Bangla become SONAR BANGLA & GAY BANGLA? Friends, we need to go a very long way, our journey has not finished yet, its just started and we do not know our destination ! Well, friends, you take care. And be fine or pretend to be fine when you are being killed by your family, society, religion & state! Bye for now. Pink Salute! In solidarity – John, co-moderator

So I could figure out that it was John Ashley, moderator of an online gay networking group called BAG ( Bangladesh Association for Gays ) in Khulna. I have never met John in my life and chances are dim that it will ever happen. But this email sent shivers in my spine as I could correlate the psychological stress this individual has been subjected to.

Sexual minorities are not safe in Bangladesh. Or in other words, they are safe as long as they can carefully conceal their sexual identity and deny their preference of same sex partners. They are safe as long they are closeted, invisible and undetected. Visibility and expressing their desired sexuality exposes the homosexuals to immense societal approbation and segregation. To mitigate this harshness most of them have chosen the comfort of the dark self denial closet.

Unfortunately the law of the land as well the puritan mindset of the Bangladeshi society brands an individual as a criminal for his non normative gender patterns. And such individuals are subjected to severe societal scrutiny, ridiculing, abuses as well as raging homophobic attacks. Generally the source of violence could be traced out from

1. Family members

2. The society or self proclaimed morality minders of the society

3. Lastly the Law enforcers or the police.

In case of John Ashley it was his family who went on aggressive over him beating him so severe that the individual feared his end. In the Middle Eastern Islamic society we have incidents of honor killings of gays by their own family members. In this case it may not be equated to a similar attempt, but the aggressors tried to dominate the victim and alter his sexuality through their brute force.

In many cases, the persecution is much more subtle. The gays are forced to break off their same sex relations and enter traditional nuptial bonds to fulfill their family and religious obligations and traverse a path of unending unhappy life. These are the dictates of the society. In fact John was a lucky that he lived in a somewhat secular urban location, inhabiting in a rustic ambiance surrounded  Islamic mullahs could have earned him fatwas or harsh social punishments too.

Lastly the law enforcers. Generally I have seen the worst atrocities against the sexual minorities have come from the police, the same who are supposed to offer protection and safety to the society. The general notion of the law enforcers is that the sexual minorities are morally degraded souls, who indulge in all sort of perverse activities from prostitution to drugs. John ran to a police station to save himself from those individuals he feared is a possible threat to his life. Instead the police accused him of being a MSM, pervert and drug abuser and handed him back to those who posed a grave danger to John’s existence.

The question obviously arises why did not police register a General Diary against John’s parents who were severely homophobic under any measurable yardstick ? Why was John denied the very basic legal right that he was entitled to? By what logic did the police release John back to his parents? Only reasoning I could find behind it that the police too endorsed the same attitude as John’s homophobic parents that his sexual orientation could be straightened out through aggressive physical torture and violence. This attitude of the law enforcers are not only obnoxious but even CRIMINAL. In any civilized nation this could have earned the police officials a dismissal from their sevice, but here in Bangladesh they will be hailed as the true morality minders of the sexually puritanical society, thanks to Section 377 A BPC.

Lastly John’s parents are threatening him with an eviction from the house, a tactic that John would give a greater priority to his survival pressures over sexuality. These attempts of enforcing a particular sexuality on an individual could be truely conceived as barbaric and brutal under the modern human rights norms.

I am in deeply concerned about John, all I could do is wish him safety and luck.

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Filed under Analysis of Homosexual Issues, Ashok DEB, Bangladesh persecution of Homosexuals, Islam and Homosexuality

Asia: National Human Rights Institutions Promote Human Rights of LGBT People

Crossposted from ILGHRC website

http://www.iglhrc.org/cgi-bin/iowa/article/takeaction/resourcecenter/958.html


08/10/2009

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National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) have the potential to serve as gatekeepers for the advancement of human rights in their countries. They are considered the “cornerstones of human rights protection systems.” 1

On May 5-7, 2009, nine NHRIs of the Asia Pacific Forum (APF) made history when they gathered for a workshop in Yogyakarta, Indonesia to consider the role of such institutions in the protection and promotion of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. They were from Australia, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Palestine, Republic of Korea and Thailand, reflecting the breadth of the Asia Pacific region, with its wide political, economic, religious and cultural diversity.

The outcome of the workshop was a consensus statement that lists several actions that NHRIs can take to use their mandates and powers to address discrimination and violence on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, including the promotion and adoption of the Yogyakarta Principles.2

Grace Poore, IGLHRC’s Regional Coordinator for Asia and Pacific Islands was invited by the APF to present a paper at the workshop. She noted, “LGBT people who experience violence and discrimination lose several inter-related rights such as freedom of expression, personal security, and effective legal remedies. They face intersecting discriminations, often held in place by interlocking barriers from multiple institutions—such as legal, medical, law enforcement, judicial, education, religion, family, etc. Abuses against LGBT people frequently involve both state and non-state violators. The APF and its members can be important partners with civil society groups that are working to change how LGBT people are treated in Asia… It can ensure that its member governments meet the accountability benchmark, thus leading by example to facilitate the progress of human rights for all in the region.” For a PDF version of her paper, click here.

Asia Pacific Forum

Started in 1996, the APF has 15 full members who must comply with the Paris Principles, which require an NHRI to be guaranteed independence and autonomy from the government, to cultivate a membership reflecting the diversity of that country’s people (plural membership) and to have powers and resources for investigating human rights violations and violators brought to its attention. The APF is likely the only pan-Asian organization that comes close to being a regional human rights monitoring body like the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, and the Council of Europe.

Issues relating to human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity were first raised by the APF in 2006. In 2008, the APF Councilors agreed to include sexual orientation and gender identity into the APF work plan, beginning with a regional workshop.

Chris Sidoti, one of the key organizers of the APF workshop, says, “The APF statement affirms the most important principle at the heart of human rights law—all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to the enjoyment of human rights without distinction of any kind. It also ‘deplores all forms of stereotyping, exclusion, stigmatization, prejudice, intolerance, discrimination and violence directed against peoples, communities and individuals on any ground whatsoever, wherever they occur.’ It recognizes the widespread violations of human rights that occur in the Asia Pacific region on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Sidoti explains that the APF statement has important implications for the work of national institutions all over the world since it provides a basis for them to examine their work of protecting the rights of LGBT people, and to identify measures they can take to be more effective. “Hopefully, NHRIs in other regions and at the international level will follow the APF’s lead,” he adds.

In addition to the recommended actions for NHRIs, the Yogyakarta workshop also recommended action by the APF itself, such as making sure that laws on the books of its member NHRIs are consistent with international human rights law regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, and requesting its Advisory Council of Jurists to review and if necessary recommend changes to laws that are not consistent.
The APF has established a webpage about its work on human rights and sexual orientation and gender identity. All papers from the Yogyakarta workshop are included on this website, which can be accessed at: http://www.asiapacificforum.net/issues/sexual_orientation.

The conclusions of the Yogyakarta workshop will be discussed by the full body of the APF at its annual meeting in 2010. At that time, a decision will be made on whether the APF and its member institutions will recognize the diverse sexual orientations and gender identities of people in the Asia Pacific region, whether it will promote and protect their human rights, and what actions will be taken to implement these commitments. Read the full statement released at the conclusion of the Yogyakarta workshop here.


1- As observed during a March 2008 Internet discussion hosted by HURITALK Human Rights Policy Network about the role of UN agencies and UN country teams in supporting National Human Rights Institutions.2- The Yogyakarta Principles directs national institutions to “promote respect for these Principles by state and non-state actors, and integrate into their work the promotion and protection of the human rights of persons of diverse sexual orientations or gender identities.” For more information, see http://www.yogyakartaprinciples.org/principles_en.htm.

3- The 15 member institutions of the Asia Pacific Forum are from Afghanistan, Australia, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Palestine, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor Leste.

4- Asia Pacific Forum is not to be confused with the newly created ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), which has 10 member states—Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam—all in Southeast Asia. ASEAN stands for Association of Southeast Asian Nations and is a regional trade and economic bloc with a policy of non-interference in the “internal affairs” of its member states. Four countries (Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Malaysia) with national human rights institutions in the Asia Pacific Forum are also members of the AICHR.

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Bandhu event show to empower the MSM and Hizrah community

bsws

Submitted by Tanvir Alim

Bandhu Social Welfare Society (BSWS) is organizing a cultural show scheduled for August 18th 2009 evening at National Museum, Shahbag, Dhaka. The main events of the day will be Dance performances from different groups and a Fashion show. This show is intended to empower the MSM and Hijra community population and raise funds. The prices of the tickets are Tk 500, Tk 200 and Tk 100 only. For information about the programme, contact Mr. Shahidul Alam, convener of the programme on email address:shahid@bandhu-bd.org

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Filed under Bandhu BSWS, Bangladesh LGBT events, Bangladesh Trans Issues, Media-Indian Subcontinent, Tanvir Alim